Traverse City’s Susan Vigland, Michigan’s Number One Road-Bike Racer

Indeed, biking is more than competing for members of the Hagerty Cycling Team. For Vigland, it’s her social life and her preferred mode of transportation. She bikes to work, to the grocery store, to the movies. Her home life revolves around her volunteer work with the TART Trails, her family life (“No kids, just toys.”) and sports. Todd no longer bike races and has traded in his spokes for running shoes. “I miss riding with him, but he’s happier as a runner.”

Living in downtown Traverse City puts her within pedaling distance of her job at Hagerty Insurance, one of the city’s largest employers. Hagerty Insurance specializes in coverage for classic cars and boats (the worldwide leader), and Vigland oversees the training and development programs for their corporate university called “Hagerty U,” where she educates over 400 employees.

“I develop, teach and facilitate 15 to 20 training classes,” Vigland says. “I train employees on everything from customerservice to car engines to insurance.”

In addition, Vigland oversees their wellness program, a job that plays into her personal philosophy of biking. “I’m a huge believer [in] and advocate of exercise,” she says. “I happen to take my exercise pretty seriously and compete. However, you don’t have to compete at all to reap the benefits of exercise.”

Vigland’s own mother bought a road bike with clip-less pedals two years ago—at age 72. She got so hooked on cycling that Dad clipped in too. “Now they are part of the Benzie Bike Club, riding with friends, loving it, stopping for lunch after a long ride. Let my mom be your inspiration!”

So, what does a bike nut do during winter in Northern Michigan, where a good four months (at least!) of the year are unpleasant for biking? Vigland puts studded tires on her commuter bike and keeps riding to work and play. But for exercise, she puts away her road bike. “I really have no interest in road riding in the winter—that’s why skis were invented!”

And yes, you can find Vigland competing (and winning) at cross-country ski races each winter, finishing right up there with the boys.

For more info:

Kandace Chapple is co-publisher of Grand Traverse Woman. [email protected]

This article first appeared in the August, 2010 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Buy the August issue now or subscribe and get the best of life in Up North delivered to your door each month.

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